Arepas are a staple in Latin America, and are especially popular in Colombia and Venezuela. They are a gluten-free corn griddle cake made from Masarepa which is a pre-cooked corn flour. They’re crispy on the outside and tender and slightly doughy on the inside. You can top these fun little cakes with beans, guacamole, or even salsa. You can also slice and stuff them with scrambled tofu, jackfruit, veggie taco fillings, or your favorite plant-based stuffing.
Yields: 8-10 arepas
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
2 cups warm water
½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
2 cups Masarepa flour (I use Harina PAN or Goya Masarepa. Do not confuse this with cornmeal or masa harina)
To a large mixing bowl, add the water and sea salt. Stir to dissolve the salt.
A little at a time, add the Masarepa flour and stir with a whisk or your hands. Work your way up to the two cups because you may not need to use the entire 2 cups. Your final dough will not stick to your hands and is moldable and moist (much like play dough). Once you have that consistency, allow it to rest for 8-10 minutes.
Using your hands, scoop out fist-size portions of dough and roll into a ball. You can make these as big or small as you prefer. Carefully press each ball between the palms of your hands to form ½ inch thick discs.
Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Then add arepas and cook for 2-3 minutes or until a deep golden brown is achieved. Flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until browned. Transfer them to a pre-heated 375°F oven and bake for 15 minutes or until they are slightly more browned in color. Allow them to cool slightly and serve warm.
Hints: Many mainstream grocery stores carry Masarepa flour (Harina PAN or Goya brand). It's important to note that Masarepa flour is different than masa harina which is used to make corn tortillas. Make sure you have the correct flour for arepas because it will make a significant difference in the final outcome of your arepas.